This beautiful mess

It’s been a really long time since I sat down to write anything, let alone a blog post. The past eight or so months have been one heck of a ride. If you follow me on social media, you would know by now that in August last year we gave birth to a little girl named Lily. Her arrival was quite different to Sophie’s in that she was born a month early due to her not doing so great on the inside. *There is a post about Lily’s arrival that I wrote a while back, but it was set to private until recently. I’ll post the link here

Last week Lily had surgery to repair the laryngomalcia airway defect that has been giving her so much trouble with breathing & feeding. So far I’m trying to stay optimistic but unfortunately we haven’t seen the sudden improvement that we had hoped for in terms of her willingness to eat or drink. I am hopeful that with time, & after a change to some of her treating team, we may be able to get some progress happening. We have agreed to give sleep school a go in the next week to see whether some rest & a better routine will help push her growth along, provide some relief to her current general miserable disposition & also get some eating happening.

Im learning that this is a marathon, not a sprint; & regardless of all of our well thought out plans & intentions we cannot force progress upon Lily that she isn’t ready for.

Lily is here!

She arrived four weeks early and I find myself writing this post, two whole months into the stint; but she’s here! It’s taken me a long time to untangle my feelings around Lily’s birth, so I do apologise for it taking me so long to update this, but I needed to process things a bit before I put them down into words. What was supposed to be a calm, planned csection in September, ended up being anything but that. Regardless of that, she’s here and she’s safe and I guess that’s all that matters right?!

The day prior to her birth, I had an appointment with my obstetrician. Lily’s movements had began to slow a few days prior and I had popped into the maternity ward the night before just to check that everything was okay. I was reassured that she was moving fine and sent home to follow up if anything else came up. I mentioned to my OB that I had been struggling to feel her move for a few weeks now and she very quickly had me move over to the ultrasound table to check it out. It became clear very quickly that something wasn’t right. When the obstetrician literally starts tapping your stomach with the doppler trying to trigger a movement, you know there’s something up. So shortly after that, she scurried me accross the hallway to the Qld Xray suite for a more detailed ultrasound.

Shortly after I had the ultrasound, my OB called and asked me to conference Steve in to the call so she could speak with us together. I knew then, that something was about to go down. She went on to explain that there was a chance that Lily might be delivered with a deformity known as microcephaly. Her scans suggested that she had an abnormally small head due to poor growth and we had been told that she might have brain damage. They wanted to wait until the next morning to deliver so that I could have a round of steroids overnight, so despite being emotionally and physically exhausted from the day we had just had, I didn’t sleep a wink that night. I was so nervous about having a premmie baby, about what it would mean for our family if there was something seriously wrong with her when she was born.

The next morning, we went down to get our little fighter bright and early morning. It was one of the best moments of my life when they placed her in my arms and I knew that she was safe, but at the same time I could feel in my spirit that the struggle wasn’t over. Her doctors reassured us immediately upon delivery that her head appeared normal and that hopefully it was just an error on her scans.

Following her birth, things seemed to be okay initially. She was tired and feeding a bit slow but they reassured me that this was common in 36 weekers. The next day it all fell apart, she crashed hard. She was so fatigued that she would barely rouse and after a few hours of trying to syringe milk, drop by drop into her mouth; they told me she needed to go to special care. It literally felt like someone had ripped a limb off me. There I was, stuck on a maternity ward; surrounded by besotted new parents and their crying babies, visitors coming to meet all the new arrivals and glowing mothers walking the halls whilst I was, babyless. We hadn’t had a chance to tell many people that we were delivering Lily early, and since she wasn’t with me the visitors were minimal.

What I remember so distinctly was that it had been such a surprise to most people that she was delivered early, so a lot of people didn’t congratulate us the same way that they did with Sophie’s birth. I remember sitting alone in the hospital room feeling so hurt. Why weren’t people happy for us? Didn’t they care that we had just gone through the most stressful 24 hours of our lives? Why didn’t people want to visit? I wanted to scream from the rooftops that she was important too. That even though it was a rocky start that she was worth celebrating.

In special care they placed an NG tube to help her gain some strength and feed better. Every two hours I would go and feed her and then they would top her up with EBM through the tube. There were no allowances for cuddles. I was told that every time we held her, it exhausted her little body. So the nurses would see me finish feeding & literally whisk her away and send me back to my room, babyless. A week passed and she grew stronger with each day. Steve was spending a lot of time at work & home, trying to save his leave so that I would have support once Lily & I were discharged. It was the first time I had been away from Sophie for more than a night, and I was struggling with it big time.

We got down to the wire where I was due for discharge but they were unsure whether Lily would be ready to come home with me. The thought of leaving her there alone was petrifying. I dug my feet in and asked for a benchmark that we could aim for in order to be able to take her home.

40g. That’s what got us over the line to be able to take her home, but it felt like so much more than that. Little did I know that the battle was just beginning for our sweet girl with the abundance of hair.

Weekly wrap-up

This Week: was full of appointments, firmer nap times, house cleaning, coffee catch-ups and Mums group. I also helped my friend search for a new place to call home and today we have the concrete going down for the slab for our shed.  So overall, it’s been a pretty good week.

On Monday we had to get an ultrasound for Sophie as she had some digestive issues last week. A few hours after her ultrasound, the plumbing started working again. It’s always the way, isn’t it? Kudo’s to our tiny human though, she didn’t cry once for the whole 30 minutes. The ultrasound tech was really impressed, as was I.

I’ve been working on being a lot more disciplined in implementing Sophie’s routine this week. It has paid off wonderfully. Every night I have made a conscious effort to keep the routine before bed exactly the same, so she knows what to expect. It has made such a difference to the amount of time it takes to get her settled. We have also been working on allowing her to self settle, this has been a little testing in that I needed to learn the difference between noise and crying. Sophie will let out almost a little yell of protest, but within about 3 minutes she puts her head down and drifts off.

We had my Mum’s group on Tuesday. It was such a nice morning. There are a few women who have recently had babies and they made it for the first time, along with some other women who haven’t been in a while. I really look forward to this time being able to connect with other mums and drink fantastic tea. Also, I forgot to get a photo of them but my friend made the most awesome biscuits. I am going to hound her for the recipe and I may even share it.

The ladies at Mammas & Babies. There I am trying to slam dunk my child. No Sophie’s were injured in the making of this photo.

Sophie & her bff Skyler

She was genuinely shocked after waking up from a 4 hour nap during the day. So was I.

I also managed to fold that mountain of laundry that I’ve been avoiding about for a week.

So tell me, what’s been happening in your world this week? What household chores have you been avoiding?

Bye for now
x
SF

… and that’s what it’s all about

At the moment I’m feeling like my blog resembles a little bit of a mish-mash of the old and the new, so I thought I would write a post to highlight what my plans are for it and why it started in the first place.

So why the title, you ask? Sasha Fierce has been a self proclaimed nickname that I gave myself a few years ago when I was going through a bit of a rough patch. I’ve always been known as an extrovert who beams confidence; but for a season that all changed. I remember feeling as though I was no longer confident and I struggled to speak my mind. I was blessed with a few friends and family who recognised this change and encouraged me to make some changes. After that, I decided that I wanted to reclaim my confidence and find the Sasha that I once was. It was then that Sasha Fierce became my alter ego. Every now and then, when I need a boost of confidence or just a metaphorical kick up the butt; someone dear to me will remind me that I am Sasha Fierce and I remember where I’ve come from.

Fierce is defined in a few ways, but my favourite is To show a heartfelt and powerful intensity. The idea of this really resonates with me. Not to sound morbid, but if that were written on my gravestone, I would be very happy with the life that I have lived. I like the idea to love people fiercely.

So now that I’ve got that out of the way, why am I writing and what am I writing about? Life. I know that my writing will change from time to time, depending on what season I am in. At the moment I am on maternity leave and soaking up every moment with my newborn; so I anticipate that the next while will include a lot about Mum life and all the experiences that come with that.

I also wear some other ‘hats’ which I am sure will pop up on here. So for now, I guess that sums things up.

I’d love to know, does anyone else out there have an alter-ego or nickname? Where did you get it and why?

Have a great week.

Sasha Fierce

Baby appreciation post

It’s now been just over two months since our Sophie entered the world. I’m still finding myself forgetting that life existed before we had a baby. This little person has managed to turn my life upside down, in the best way possible.

I had some pretty serious anxiety about what parenting a newborn would look like. I had this idea that if I read every parenting book in existence, I would be less likely to infinitely suck at caring for a baby. I’ve learnt that it is so different when it’s your own child. Most things come naturally, & I’ve learnt that reading mass amounts of parenting books can be pretty flipping confusing (another post on that to come).

In two months, it appears that we have mastered the art of telling the difference between Sophie’s cries. The tired cry sounds completely different to the hungry cry. But to be completely honest, Sophie doesn’t cry much since we’ve got a handle on her reflux. She’s one chubby, happy, contented little girl.

Sophie (8 weeks old)

In two months I have seen this little person transform from a sleepy newborn, to a kicking, smiling, giggling & cooing little human. She lights up my world; and she makes things that were once “important”, not so important anymore.

S

10 things I’ve learned in my first month of motherhood

As we cross over the one month mark since Sophie’s birth, I find myself already passing on the pearls of wisdom that I have managed to acquire in this short time to other expeccting mothers. For kicks, I thought… why not share them with the internet world too.. Surely I am not the only one who has experienced some of these.

1. My heart is so full, I have been expecting it to explode or something

Not even exaggerating here. This tiny human is my world. I said to someone about three days in, I would jump in front of a bus for her. In one short month, she has managed to drastically shift my perspective on my life’s goals and how I approach my marriage. It is no longer just about me striving to further my career, shower my husband with love and enjoy our free time. I am already thinking 20 years ahead at the life that I am creating for her.

I’ve been really challenged through this shift, and I think this will be a lifelong marathon where I will  constantly be reflecting and evaluating how my choices will in turn impact on my child. In comparison to the lifestyle and perspective I once held, its not at all a bad change.

2. Note to self: Surround yourself with supportive & awesome people who get you & the journey you’re on!

If you want to make any friends at mothers’ group, don’t tell them if your baby is sleeping well at three weeks, whether you plan to return to work, that you’re not nearly as tired as you thought you would be, or whether you are pro/con co-sleeping. Just tread very carefully around the topic of sleep.. it’s a doozie.

Honestly though, find a good group of mums that you trust and enjoy spending time with. I checked out a few groups prior to giving birth and I am so glad that I did. One in particular, I arrived for coffee with a group of about 20 women who were pregnant and due around the same month as me. It all seemed to be going well until they asked whether I would be going back to work after materntiy leave.

Needless to say, they did not really care too much for my response and I left shortly after that due to an “urgent call from a friend who needed me”. I’ve been really blessed though to have an amazing group of friends who are becoming parents or are already. We meet up once a fortnight at a friend’s house and it is refreshingly great to be able to ask questions, chat about all things baby and just connect with people who I know aren’t judging me for my life choices.

I have the perspective that every person is different, as are their children. So I am not one to pass judgement or make assumptions based on a set of circumstances I know nothing about. Seriously people.. be kind to each other okay!

3. Browsing online shopping sites during night time feeds is dangerous game to play

It’s only been four weeks and I have already managed to make online purchases & wake the next morning with no recollection. It was only when I opened my inbox to find a bunch of “your receipt for …” emails, that I realised what had happened. Kudos to my midnight conscious self though because they were all necessary items that I had been meaning to look in to further.

4. More than once you will find yourself pushing an empty pram, rocking a shopping trolley or swaying from side to side when your baby is not with you.

Yep. Did this in the line to get some takeaway the other day. I had Sophie in the baby carrier and the pram was loaded up with the grocery basket filled with my purchases. I was getting some funny looks and then I realised. *excuse me while I go die now

5. You’ve never known fury until someone wakes your child after a 5 hour sleep refusal marathon.

Not even kidding. We had a particularly difficult week with Sophie last week due to congestion. After almost an entire day of her not sleeping, I finally managed to put her down and some door knockers came by.

The first time I was pretty gracious to the fact that they caused my dog to start barking the house down and almost woke my child; but when they returned a second time after I had told them very clearly that I was not interested in the book of Mormon to ask me if I was “sure” I did not want to hear their message…. lets just say they got a rather different response.. One I am not particularly proud of *Oops

6. The new and improved muffin top that once was your pregnant belly is here to stay. Accept it and think of it as a “token gift” from your pregnancy.

I’m not even worried. The plus side is that breastfeeding is like the best weight loss method I have ever come across, so the rest of me is looking rather good.

At the end of the day, I have this awesome little person and I know people who would have given their right arms or more to be able to have a child. So I choose to love myself and be stoked that I got to carry and birth my beautiful daughter and let the rest go.

7. Beware clucky over 50’s women in the shopping centre who think it’s okay to come up and touch the baby without permission

Countless times this has happened already. My new response is to ask them what brand of foundation they use and reach out to touch their faces. I can’t quite put my finger on why they run away at this point, but it does the trick!

8. 10 minute drives away are no more!

The other day I had to ‘pop up the road’ for something. For real, I pulled that car over 4 times before I even parked because my beautiful little treasure decided to play the “lets spit the dummy out and crack it” game over and over again. The silver lining is that she is too young to need entertainment in the car so I am not yet being tortured by the frozen soundtrack.

9. It’s all about team work

In one month, I have eaten dinner at the same time as my husband only a handful of times. I’m learning that he is the love of my life and my husband.. but he is also my partner in crime and team-mate when it comes to raising my little bundle of joy. This means that sometimes we are going to have to forfeit those dinner time catch ups in order to ensure that all of her needs are met. I’m okay with this because I get to see my husband rock the dad gig and that just makes me love him even more.

10. Self-doubt happens and when it does.. approach google with caution

There have been many times this month where I have found myself wondering whether I am doing this parenting gig right, whether I am using the right brand of nappy cream, whether I am wrong to be sleeping my child on her side because she simply hates being on her back. Many times I have taken to google to try and find some magic answer to some of these questions.

I am learning that everyone has an opinion on how to do things, and all of these opinions are going to be different. So take what works for you and run with it (within reason of course). But again, reach out to other mums that you trust, mums that have gone before you (they have some pearls of wisdom to offer too) and be kind to yourself.

I hope you get something out of the above list. I’m still learning so I’m sure there will be a follow up to this one down the track.

Have an epic week 🙂

Sasha

The day I became a mum.

She is here!! Apologies that it has taken me almost month to write a post regarding my newly arrived offspring, but the last month has seriously felt as though I stepped on to the Gravatron (spinning ride at Dreamworld) and my head only just stopped spinning (in a good way of course!). Sophie Rose Tranter arrived on May 29th at 6:43pm via c-section. I thought I would be disappointed that I didn’t get to have her naturally, but to be honest, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I know a lot of women look back on their birth experience with rose-coloured glasses, but I truly feel it was the best outcome.

Leading up to my due date, I kept getting the feeling that there was something not quite right happening in the birth department. I would feel her engage and think “this is it!!”, only to feel her move back up near my rib cage. This happened a few times each day & I started to wonder what was wrong.

On the day of her birth, we had an appointment with my obstetrician. She did a scan and things appeared to be okay, but once we started talking about her decreased movements and her engaging only to move back up. Initially the OB wanted to have the baby’s movements monitored, and after some discussion we concluded that it was likely that she would need to go in and get her.

Due to my usual coffee in hand; we couldn’t deliver immediately as there’s a risk with eating and surgery or something of that nature.. so we allowed for 6 hours in order for my body to digest the liquid gold coffee and booked in Sophie’s birth. Steve and I walked out of the office a little bit shocked, I remember looking at him and saying “we are going to be parents.. tonight!!”. After we left the obstetrician’s office it all became a bit of a whirlwind. We did a dash to the shops to grab some comfy pants, I watched Steve eat some lunch, we drove home to pack, delivered the hound to my in-laws, collected my mum (she wasn’t going to miss this event, even if it were her last day on earth) and headed for the hospital.

We “checked in” and then after that people appeared and we got ready to do this thing. I have to admit that it was kind of weird saying to the receptionist “um.. hello.. I’m here to have a baby”. For those who have had c-section births, I apologise if my experience was extra awesome and that you however do not feel the same way about being cut open, but seriously.. for me.. it was fine. My biggest fear was the idea of facing the operating theatre still awake; I guess because every other surgery I have had has involved me going to sleep and then waking up dosed with high levels of pain meds. I had no reason to be afraid though; the staff are so great at what they do and it all happened without me not really being too aware of the fact that I was being cut open. What surprised me the most was how fast it all went, or more so how fast I felt that it went.

It turned out when we got to the whole “and now I am going to pull out your baby” moment, the cord was around her neck twice over. My OB handled it with complete ease and within seconds I could hear the cries of my beautiful tiny human. She came out perfect, 7 pounds exactly and measuring 45 cms. After that it became a bit of a teary, amazing, beautiful blur.

As for my love, he was amazing. He always has had this way of being the calm in any storm that we face together, but he remained super chilled throughout the entire experience. I said this the other day on Instragram, I did not think it were possible for me to love him any more than I did prior to giving birth.. but watching him become a father and how he interacts with our daughter has expanded my little heart.

The only complaint I have is that it took 12 hours for my epidural to wear off, so I had to stay in bed and request for my dear husband to fetch me my baby every time she stirred. Once I had feeling back in my legs, I was pretty chuffed with how good I felt. The next morning I showered myself and was up walking around. Of course I was a little tender, but not nearly as much as I expected to be. It’s now four weeks on and I have been painkiller free for two weeks. My biggest hurdle has been refraining from getting behind the wheel (or at least trying to).

If there’s one thing I could change from this experience, I think it would be having more faith. Throughout my pregnancy, I would say to my colleagues and friends.. “what birth plan? the plan is to have the baby!”. My friends made comment about how super chilled I was and how it was a little shocking for me (I’ll admit, I was shocked myself). Upon reflection, the days leading up to my due date I became a little stressed out about the what-if’s and I hope for my next birth I can look back on this experience and know fully that my family were completely taken care of. Knowing that the cord was around my sweet daughter’s neck, there are so many things that could have gone wrong.. but they didn’t. She is here safe and I am thankful that I have people on my team who covered us in prayer leading up to her arrival.

As for the steep learning curve that I call being a parent; I plan to write another post about all that I have learned in this short four weeks.

For any Mum’s reading, I would love to hear your thoughts, comments or experiences.

Sasha